Increasing Your Odds of Success
Generally most executives, entrepreneurs and business owners know that strategy is important. But almost all also find it scary, because it forces them to confront a future they can only guess at. What is even worse is choosing a strategy, which entails making decisions that explicitly cut off possibilities and options. An executive may well fear that getting those decisions wrong will wreck their career, or destroy their business!
The natural reaction is to make the challenge less daunting by turning it into a problem that can be solved using tried and tested tools. That nearly always means spending weeks or even months preparing a comprehensive plan for how the company will invest in existing and new assets as well as capabilities in order to achieve a target—an increased share of the market, say, or a share in some new one. The plan is typically supported with detailed spreadsheets that project costs and revenue quite far into the future. By the end of the process, everyone feels a lot less scared.
This is a truly terrible way to make strategy. It may be an excellent way to cope with fear of the unknown, but fear and discomfort are an essential part of strategy making. In fact, if you are entirely comfortable with your strategy, there’s a strong chance it isn’t very good. You’re probably stuck in one or more of the many traps and pitfalls that lie in wait when creating a plan.
You need to be uncomfortable and apprehensive: True strategy is about placing bets and making hard choices. The objective is not to eliminate risk but to reduce risk whilst increasing the odds of success.
The process is hard, as it’s supposed to be. It asks lots of uncomfortable questions, and is made more difficult as the executive is intricately involved. As the situation becomes personal, an outside perspective is needed.
In this worldview, managers accept that good strategy is not the product of hours of careful research and modeling that lead to an inevitable and almost perfect conclusion. Instead, it’s the result of a simple quite rough-and-ready process of thinking through what it would take to achieve what you want and then assessing whether it’s realistic to try. If executives adopt this definition, then maybe, they can keep strategy where it should be: outside the comfort zone.
This is where ASG Strategies can help. We work with our clients, not only to construct plans, but we work with our clients to execute, monitor and refine so we can achieve your goals. We understand what it takes and work with our clients to make them successful.
Just ask any of our clients.